John “Duane” Copley passed away of natural causes, peacefully in his sleep, on August 22, 2021.
His wife, Jeanette Copley said, “As the clock was turning into Aug. 22 and I was having trouble sleeping, I sat up and kissed Duane. He gave me a gentle smile and a wink. It was 22 minutes into August 22, 2021. I thought it was the perfect gift to say I love you and goodbye.”
Duane and Jeanette met on the Quad at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA in 1959 and were together ever since, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on July 1 of this year.
The couple settled in Davis in 1965, when Duane graduated from Stanford University and was hired as a Civil Engineer for the City of Davis. Duane was instrumental in the early days of city planning for Davis, including the development of bicycle lanes, connected parkways and the green belt systems in neighborhoods.
Duane had many stories from his years with the City. One year during President Carter’s administration, then-First Lady Rosalynn Carter visited Davis during the Energy Crisis, where Duane conducted her on a bicycle tour to visit both passive and active solar neighborhoods. Before retiring from the City of Davis, his last large project as Senior Civil Engineer was designing and overseeing the construction of the Pole Line Road Overcrossing, which connects East and South Davis.
Duane loved the community of Davis and the people themselves, and volunteered prolifically. He was a 4-H Club leader; a Little League coach; attended and judged local track meets; loved local sporting events of all kinds, and co-designed and surveyed the UC Davis baseball and soccer fields in the 1980s. In addition, for many years Duane volunteered as Santa for the City of Davis Christmas parade.
In his retirement years, Duane invested in the next generation of engineers as he worked to fund-raise for the Sacramento Chapter of the APWA Education Endowment Fund, supporting college engineering students and programs throughout the State of California.
In his early life, Duane was born May 25, 1938, in Visalia, CA to John and Emma Copley. He grew up in the Visalia school systems and graduated from Mt. Whitney High School in 1956. Duane loved his Visalia classmates and spoke of them often. He is survived by his wife Jeanette, two brothers Douglas and Ronald Copley, and his sisters-in-law, Marty and Carol Copley. He is also survived by his three grown children Kent Copley (Visalia, CA), Kari Copley (Manteca, CA), and Kevin Copley (Woodland, CA), his daughters-in-law, Staci and Christy Copley, as well as his five grandchildren, Tori, Britni, Maya, John, and David Copley. Duane was very proud of and close with his family.
The Copley family will hold a private celebration of life service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Pence Gallery of Davis (212 D St, Davis, CA 95616), where Duane was a longtime member.
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